Come along and see me at The Big Bead Show on 9th April between 10am and 3pm at Sandown Racecourse! I'm hosting a workshop (now sold out) but will be giving a live demonstration at 1.30pm in the Hall and then I have a "Meet the Tutor" spot at 2.00pm where you can come and have a chat!
At all of my workshops so far, the lovely attendees have asked about torch firing, which torch to get, why, where to get them etc! So, here we go:
For copper metal clay, you need a torch that has a wide bushy flame but for silver metal clay you don't want the silver to get as hot so you need a more subtle torch! If you look at the torch nozzle comparison in the photo below (and also the flame comparison) you'll see that the larger torch has a much wider nozzle and a more vicious bushy flame! Because copper melts at a higher temperature to silver, you need the extra help of a hotter, wider flame.
The torches look very different to each other don't they? They're actually not that different. The smaller torch is a whole unit that you fill with gas via a small aperature at the bottom of the torch. However, the larger torch is actually only the top part and the base. The blue canister in the middle is the gas. You screw the gas canister into the torch and it's ready to go! You can buy all sizes of gas canister and the one in the picture is the largest you can purchase easily at DIY shops. You'll see that this one was £5.99 and that's about an average price for the largest canisters.
You can use either torch for copper and silver BUT I found I had more consistent results when I used the smaller for silver and the larger for copper. Don't be fooled though - both torches get hot enough to melt the metal clay during firing, so you do have to be careful. If you can only afford one torch, then go for the larger version initially but be careful not to get too close when firing silver and make sure you keep an eye on the piece all the time to ensure you don't get to melting point.
The smaller torch can be purchased at Metal Clay Ltd and they have an economy version for £12.95, or the same torch but with a firing brick and heat proof tweezers at £16.95 or a torch that I would recommend which is slightly more expensive at £21.95 (and you can buy the firing brick and tweezers separately). http://www.metalclay.co.uk/search.php…
The larger torch can be purchased at B&Q and online for around £22. This torch doesn't have good reviews but they're from plumbers who use it for a completely different job! This is great for those using metal clay and has the added bonus of a handle (some don't). http://www.diy.com/…/at2071h-gosystem-blow-tor…/30062_BQ.prd